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Arbella England's Lost Queen - Sarah Gristwood

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1 Review
  • Detailed biography
  • Lots of speculation
  • Dry in parts
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      29.06.2015 16:11
      Very helpful


      • "Detailed biography"


      • "Lots of speculation"
      • "Dry in parts"

      Not The Best Tudor Biography

      The biography is by Sarah Gristwood and is about the surprisingly little known Tudor royal Arbella Stuart. She had quite a pedigree as a cousin of James I (James VI of Scotland) and thus an equal claim to the English throne after Elizabeth I. Born in 1575 she was the great great-grandchild of Henry VII, whose daughter Margaret was the great -grandmother to both Arbella and the future James I. Her influential maternal grandmother was Bess of Hardwick a friend of both Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots and was very ambitious for Arbella's future. Not to mention a tad controlling, as the family matriarch, she also kept Arbella a virtual prisoner for her own protection.

      I found a lot of the book quite dry. Not a lot is known about Arbella and the Elizabethan English is hard to follow in extracts of letters. It seems Arbella suffered from some health problems (possibly porphyria which allegedly affected other members of the royal family), as well as trying to rebel from her controlling grandmother. I enjoyed the end more, when we heard of things that did actually happen rather than speculation (such as whether playwright – and Shakespeare’s peer - Christopher Marlowe was a) a spy, b) Arbella's tutor, c) both, d)neither).

      This is the only biography of her I have read, and it makes me unlikely to read another as I found it dragged, although those with a particular interest in Tudor and Stuart monarchs, may find something of interest in here.


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